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BJP Drops 3 Sitting MPs in Assam, New Faces Speak in Support of Contentious Citizenship Bill

The party named candidates for eight of the 14 seats in Assam while refraining from making announcements for the crucial Nagaon and Tezpur constituencies.

Karishma Hasnat | CNN-News18

Updated:March 21, 2019, 11:26 PM IST
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BJP party flags.

Guwahati: The BJP on Thursday dropped three sitting MPs from its first list of candidates for the Lok Sabha elections announced on Thursday evening.

The party named candidates for eight of the 14 seats in Assam while refraining from making announcements for the crucial Nagaon and Tezpur constituencies.

In Guwahati, which is considered one of the state’s toughest battlegrounds with its diverse voter base, the saffron party has fielded former mayor Queen Ojha. She has replaced former union minister Bijoya Chakraborty, who has represented the seat thrice since 1999.

The BJP has nominated general secretary of its Assam unit, Dilip Saikia, in place of Mangaldoi MP Ramen Deka, while Assam Minister Tapan Gogoi has been preferred in place of sitting MP Kamakhya Prasad Tasa from Jorhat.

Two sitting MPs – Dibrugarh MP Rameshwar Teli and Lakhimpur MP Pradan Baruah - have been re-nominated from their respective constituencies with the BJP looking at an improved showing in the northeast.

Former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi earlier said that his party aims to win at least 10 seats, including Guwahati.

Soon after the list was announced, celebrations started at the residence of Ojha as women members of the BJP gathered around to congratulate her.

“I am extremely happy, but this happiness comes with a lot of responsibility. I am overwhelmed by the support by party members and well-wishers. I am confident of winning. When I was the Mayor here, people had welcomed me with open arms and have since kept faith in my work,” said Ojha,

Teli, who will file his nomination on Friday, said he was certain of being chosen again.

“Last time, I won by a margin of 1.85 lakh votes. I had the support of 13 lakh voters of Dibrugarh, and I am sure they will vote for me for the second time. We have introduced a lot of schemes for the tea tribes,” said a confident Teli.

According to the 2011 census, the tea tribes constitute 34.26% of Dibrugarh’s population.

The new face in the list, Saikia, shared his opinion on Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, stating that his party supports the Bill to protect Assam from illegal immigrants.

“The Citizenship Bill is not a political issue. It is a matter of securing the identity of every indigenous Assamese and every Indian. Congress has politicized the issue. The bill will safeguard the social, economic, cultural, political and constitutional rights of the people,” said Saikia.

On the other hand, Rajdeep Roy, who has been nominated from Silchar, said that people should understand Congress’ game plan over the Citizenship Bill. “We have maintained our stand on CAB – what we said in Delhi is also what we reiterated in Assam,” said Roy, who is pitted against All India Mahila Congress president and Silchar MP Sushmita Dev.

Deputy speaker, Kripanath Malla, who will fight from Karimganj maintains that chances of victory in his constituency is higher for the BJP this time compared to previous years.

“Since past 3 months, I have been in my constituency and working really hard. People have ensured all support and I am sure of winning from Karimganj.”

Horensing Bey from Diphu Autonomous District constituency also finds his name in the first list.

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